June 20, 2018 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , , )

masteryMastery by Kelley Wilde


Moving along in my Abyss reading project, Mastery is the next book in publication order. This is also a re-read for me, and I remember a handful of things about the book, but what stands out the most is Wilde’s obsession with lavender in this story. He uses it as an adjective to describe things like sounds and smells. I’m not even sure this is supposed to reference the color.

Wilde is a poetic writer, enough so that when I was thinking back to Kathe Koja’s unusual style, what I was actually remembering was Wilde’s style. He doesn’t paint a perfect picture with his prose; instead, he describes it more abstractly, making you pay closer attention to what he’s writing. The good thing is the style means he shows more than he tells, which is a nice alternative to some of the books I’ve been reading lately.

I’m a function-over-form reader, so I expected to be more frustrated with Mastery than I was. Maybe it was because it was in the middle of some other poorly-written books in the line, but I found myself enjoying it. It wasn’t easy getting into it, but I did end up hooked, and was interested in seeing how it played out. It’s a werewolf/vampire story (it feels more like the former, but other readers consider it to be the latter), set amidst a time-travel story set in early 20th-Century San Francisco, but it seems inconsequential against Wilde’s style, which is the real star of the book. It’s not the tightest book I’ve read, but I enjoyed Wilde’s imagery and themes enough to make it a solid middle-of-the-road book.

I would recommend Mastery, but with hesitation. Horror readers would probably get the most out of it, but readers who like stories that are told non-traditionally might enjoy it, too. I don’t think readers of Faulkner or Joyce would like the story that much, but Wilde’s style reminds me more of their styles than, say, Stephen King’s.

Started: April 17, 2018
Finished: May 5, 2018

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